Gov. Rick Scott on climate change: 'I'm not a scientist'

Miami HeraldMay 28, 2014 

Charlie Crist Democrats

FILE - This Oct. 2, 2013 file photo shows Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaking in Doral, Fla. When former Gov. Charlie Crist switched parties and declared heíd run as a Democrat, his new party leaders saw a moderate candidate who could win back centrist Republican and independent voters who have soured on Gov. Rick Scott. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

ALAN DIAZ — AP

Florida Gov. Rick Scott won't say whether he thinks man-made climate change is real and significant.

"I’m not a scientist," Scott said when asked about anthropogenic global warming during a Tuesday stop in Miami. Scott then talked about money for flood control and Everglades restoration.

Scott's refusal to weigh in on the issue contrasts with his position in 2011, when he said "I've not been convinced that there's any man-made climate change... Nothing's convinced me that there is."

So is Scott repositioning himself now, believing more in man-made climate change? Scott wouldn't say.

"I'm not a scientist," Scott repeated, noting again his environmental record.

Scott's new position resembles that of another top Florida Republican office holder, Sen. Marco Rubio, who has also expressed skepticism. Rubio, too, says he's not a scientist and he won't answer the question about whether he believes humans are causing the planet to warm.

Unlike Scott, though, Rubio hasn't issued a blanket denial of man-made climate change and he gives a major reason for his skepticism: There has been a 15-year pause in surface-temperature readings despite an increase in carbon dioxide emissions world wide.

Climate scientists, an estimated 97 percent of whom say man-made climate change is real and significant, point to data that show the oceans and the upper-level atmosphere are heating, and that the overall trend of all temperature readings in the last century are climbing.

A recent national climate-change report indicated that Florida will be exceptionally vulnerable if the seas continue to rise.

Here's the question-and-answer with Scott:

Q: Do you believe man-made climate change is significantly affecting the weather, the climate?

Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But let’s talk about what we’ve done. Through our Division of Emergency Management -- the last few years, three years – we put about, I think, $120 million to deal with flooding around our coast. We also put a lot of money into our natural treasures, the Everglades, trying to make sure all the water flows south. So we’re dealing with all the issues we can. But I’m not a scientist.”

Q: In 2011 or 2010, you were much more doubtful about climate change. Now you’re sounding less doubtful about man-made climate change because now you’re not saying ‘Look, I doubt the science.’ Now you’re saying: ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Am I right in guessing that?

Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But I can tell you what we’ve accomplished. We put a lot of effort into making sure that we take care of our natural treasures – the Everglades, making sure water flows south, any flooding around our coast. So we’re doing the right thing.”

Question (asked by citizen-activist): So do you believe in the man-made influence on climate change?

Scott: “Nice seeing you guys.”

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service